Rotary Club of Faribault

Posted by Clare Bender- Faribault Daily News

Aquatic Center

Tuesday was an important day for the Faribault Family Aquatic Center.
Members of the Faribault Rotary Club gathered to initiate the center’s next move in helping those in wheelchairs access the pool. The Faribault Rotary Club donated a special type of wheelchair so that disabled children can also enjoy the pool and summer fun.
     “I am excited that the wheelchair will allow more people to experience the fun of the Aquatic Center who were not previously able to participate,” Faribault Rotary President Keith Kramer said in an email.
Rotarian Barton Jackson, also in an email, said that he proposed this idea at a board meeting last fall. The board approved of the idea, and a month later the funding was also approved.
As of now, there doesn’t seem to be any plans to update the pool to accommodate wheelchairs, though it doesn’t seem to be necessary. The pool has a zero-depth entry in which the water gets gradually deeper as a person walks in. Pools without this type of entry have a ramp that allows handicapped swimmers to enter in a similar way.
 
     This new change will come as a blessing to people who live with various disabilities.
Jackson, whose son is disabled, noted the difficulty for families like his in going to places that aren’t handicap accessible, which can make it impossible for disabled youngsters to get the same experience as others. This new pool wheelchair will allow disabled children to have the same or similar experience as those who are able-bodied in enjoying a common childhood pastime.
Additionally, Jackson said that there are limited options for children with disabilities to have fun like other kids, and that having this opportunity makes life a bit easier for children and parents.
 
     Kramer noted that the organization’s motto is Service Above Self, and that Rotary focuses on many community projects such as Red Cross Blood Drive and other charities.
“I hope people will be encouraged by our service above self-way of life and know there are people who care and want to see Faribault and surrounding communities thrive,” Kramer said.
“Rotary does a lot of service projects in the community and this is another one of those that we saw need for handicapped children to enjoy some of the amenities that other children can enjoy, so the club voted to buy a handicapped (pool) wheelchair so that those children who can’t get into the water have an opportunity to do so,” Rotarian Richard Huston said.
Rotary International began in 1905 with Paul Harris and has continued to grow in members and charity work. Much of their charity has focused on polio, which since the Rotary’s start in 1985, polio has declined by 99%.
 
     The Rotary Club is meant for many ages. People who are 18+ are encouraged to join. If someone would like to find more about the Rotarian program, members meet every Wednesday at 12:15 at The Inn at Shattuck-St. Mary’s for a lunch. Kramer encourages people to join.
“Someone should join because we have great people, a great purpose, and we also have fun along the way!” Kramer said.
This year, the Rotary Club’s theme is “Be the Inspiration,” chosen by International President Barry Rassin. The “Be the Inspiration” theme combined with Kramer’s words of encouragement that people join if they want to make a difference in a meaningful way, all in all, sounds like the perfect head start in bringing more recognition and access to everyone.
Reprinted with permission from the Daily News.
Reach Reporter Clare Bender at 507-333-3128 or follow her on Twitter @FDNclare.
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